Day Forty-Seven with Mark: Mark 12:18-27

Today in Mark, we look at Chapter 12:18-27

18 Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; 21 and the second married the widow and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; 22 none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. 23 In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.”

24 Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”

Sadducees 02.jpgOnce again, we see another group coming to test Jesus based off something that they didn’t even really believe.  The Sadducees come asking Him a question about the resurrection when, in fact, they didn’t believe in the resurrection.

First, why didn’t they believe in the resurrection?  There were lots of different divisions of the religious leaders in Jesus day, but one of the greatest divides was between that of the Sadducees and the Pharisees.  They were both religious leaders, but the Sadducees were more associated with the Temple and thePharisees were more associated with local synagogues.

There was also a disagreement among them over the authority of their scripture.  The Pharisees believed that all the Old Testament was inspired and had authority while the Sadducees only believed that to be true of the first five books of the Old Testament, the Torah, the Books of Moses.

And that’s why they didn’t believe in the resurrection, because nowhere in their belief system did they find the resurrection mentioned.  Now it’s found in other places in the Old Testament (and remember, as Christians, we are going to read the Old Testament in a different way, we see evidence of resurrection and eternity there).

Ok, in this text a couple of things to be aware of.  First, the business of brother’s marrying the widow of their brother.  That was the custom of the day, so they were trying to carry for this accepted religious practice of the day into eternity.

In this Jesus says, there will not be marriage in heaven.  So, what is heaven like?  No one really knows, Scripture doesn’t really say, other than to say it will be amazing.  A few things here.  First, notice that Jesus DID NOT say that we will be angels in heaven.  He said we will be LIKE, but will NOT BE.  Angels are created beings, just like humans are created being.  We do not become angels in heaven.  That’s common cultural misconceptions.  Jesus says that will be BE LIKE angels, not BECOME them.  Scripture does not say that we become angels when we did.

So, what does it mean to be like angels?  Good question.  Not really sure.  It is understood to mean that we are part of God’s heavenly court. We have access to God.  We are part of the group that worships God.  We are accepted fully into God’s kingdom.  Like the angels.  Paul attempts to answer this question of what it will be like 1 Corinthians 15 and the best way that he can describe it is “spiritual bodies.”  We don’t know what that means other than it will a body and it will be different.

Ok, another question this raises is will we know each other in heaven?  My belief is yes, based off other passages.  After death, Saul recognized Samuel.  The Disciples recognized Moses and Elijah.  I believe that we will know each other in heaven.  It will be different; it will not be exactly like here on earth.  But in some way, we will know each other.

Remember from this passage, as well as yesterday’s to think about how we approach Jesus.  In both of these passages, people did not come to Jesus for wisdom or to have legitimate questions answered, they came to test Him and trip Him.  They weren’t really seeking His face.

Let’s not make that same mistake.  Let’s seek His face.  And in doing that we will find all we need.

Wednesday we’ll look at Mark 12:28-34.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

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Not What it Seems

Blessed-AreOne of the things that we see with faith, is that things aren’t always what they seem. What looks to be good sometimes isn’t. Think temptation. It looks so good, and well, tempting, but in the end is a very bad thing.

And likewise, things that look to be awful and terrible can, in the end, turn out to be very good things. It’s those things that can cause us to grow and become more faithful.

It’s in the times of trial that our faith becomes real to us, and we better become the people that God needs us, created us to become.

Things aren’t always what they seem. Listen to what Jesus tells us in Luke 6: 20-26. These are words that you’ve heard before, but listen like you’ve never heard them:

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

Nothing here that He promised us or told us would be “good” is good, in our eyes. Jesus tells us that we are blessed when we are poor in spirit. When we are hungry. When we weep. When we are hated.

Why? Why would these awful things make us feel as though we are blessed? Why would these terrible things seem good?

Because great is our reward in heaven.

This world is not our home. This world is not our home. This world is not home.

Hear me friends, this world is not our home.

We were made for something better. We were made for something that is truly life. Something that can’t be taken or corrupted or destroyed.

We are made for our true home. Remember that today. This world is not your home. You are made for a better place.

Keep your eye on that. Live today. Laugh. Love. Serve. Enjoy every sacred moment that God gives you. Enjoy it all. Drink it all in.

But this world is not your home. Don’t be satisfied with the earthly, when the eternal awaits.

Remember, when things are tough, this too shall pass. Something better is coming. Hold on. Don’t give up. Keep the faith.

You were made for more than this. And blessed will we be when we remember that.

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On Suicide, Depression, and Heaven

WoodnhugSome folks asked me today about suicide and heaven. Does someone who committed suicide forfeit any chance of going to heaven? This was my answer:

I’m a believer in Christ. I am by no means perfect, but I accepted Jesus when I was a senior, I love Him; I believe, and I really do my best to follow every day. I’m a Christian. I fail probably 9 out of 10 times, but I really do try to be faithful.

Let’s say I’m driving down the Gandy Parkway here in Petal. Everyone knows I’m a terrible driver. While driving down the Gandy, I have an accident, and I die.

Let’s say the last words in my mouth on the earth are a string of terrible profanities. Words as a Christian, I shouldn’t think, much less say. Let’s say my last thought on the earth is a terrible thought. And then I die.

What happens? Well, the question I ask is this. Does my sinful last action upon the earth outweigh the faith that I have? Does that sinful last action outweigh my faith, my love of Jesus, and my desire to follow Him? I say no.

See we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are not saved (or condemned) by our actions. By our faith. So, if I have faith, but my last action on the earth is a sin, then what we are saying by saying that would send me to hell is that “that” action would outweigh my faith.

And that simply is not what we believe as Christians. We are saved by grace through faith. We aren’t saved by our good actions, and we aren’t condemned by our sinful actions. We are saved or condemned by our faith in Jesus Christ.

We are not saved or condemned by anything we do. Whether it be now or whether it be our last act. We are saved by grace; we are saved by faith. Not by what we “do.”

So, to suicide, if someone is a believer in Christ. If they are Christian. If they have placed their entire faith in Him, and their last action is a mistake, even a major mistake like suicide, as grave as that is, I do not believe that mistake outweighs their faith.

And I know it doesn’t outweigh God’s grace.

I believe that if they are believer, then that final mistake does not outweigh God’s grace.  They are with Him, and have their reward with Him.  As a believer, they will spend eternity in heaven with God.

We can also talk long and hard about issues of disease like depression. Clinical depression is a disease, not a moral failing. Those with diabetes or high blood pressure, they are not morally weak; they just have a disease. So is it with clinical depression. And just like those diseases, depression can cause great harm (even death) to the person that is sick. And just like diabetes, if left untreated, depression can really harm a person and their relationships.

Let me say it again, clinical depression is not a moral failing. It is a disease that should be treated. We don’t judge those that have high blood pressure. Why should we judge those that have this disease.

But in short, not matter what our final act upon the earth is, I believe that if our whole faith is in Jesus Christ, we will be with Him in paradise.

Just my two cents.

This World and the Next

One of my favorite quotes is by my man CS Lewis.  This is what he says in his book Mere Christianity.

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

I thought about that when I read today’s scripture from John 13:1-4

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.

nature_clouds_heaven_019281_In John, Jesus gets up, and He washes the feet of the disciples.  This is an act of great service, one of the greatest acts of service that any would could possibly perform, and our Lord and Savior willingly does it.

This is a great example to us.  Why did He do it?  Because He knew that the Lord had given all things into His hands.  And that He had come from God and was going back to God.  He knew that this world was not His home.

As it for us. This world is not our home. This is not where we belong.

We don’t live for this world.  We don’t live for this world’s praise or honor. We don’t live for this world’s recognition.

We live for our real home.  Our true home.  Our true place.

And because we know that this world isn’t our home, we can live with no fear.  Or worry.  Or stress.  The next world, that’s what we were made for.  And that’ where we are going.

So, live boldly. Live for your real home.

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